Abide and Shine

Recently as I was pondering John 15, the vine and the branches, when the Lord impressed the following image on my heart. It was a vine and a branch with fruit, but this in not what held my attention. There also was a green leaf; a leaf that I knew was always green. What caught and held my attention was the dew resting on this leaf. This dew was shining as brilliant as a diamond caught in the light of the rising sun, shining with the brightness of dawn.

This ever green leaf speaks of the one who trusts and abides in the Lord; the tree planted by the stream. Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit (Jeremiah 17:7-8). The stream is flowing with the water from the sanctuary of the Lord and will never run dry (Ezekiel 47:12). A river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells (Psalm 46:4). This stream brings life and healing wherever it goes (Ezekiel 47:9; Revelation 22:2); life and healing for the nations.

The tree planted by the stream is planted by the Lord’s hand. To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified (Isaiah 61:3). That His splendor, righteousness and praise be displayed before the nations ((Isaiah 61:10-11). This tree planted in the Lord’s court is always fresh and green, anointed with fresh oil and full of sap.

But You have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox; I have been anointed with fresh oil. The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, he will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still yield fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap and very green, To declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
(Psalm 92:10,12-15)

From the NetBible: http://net.bible.org/verse.php?book=Psa&chapter=92&verse=14, being full of sap {dashen} speaks of being filled with vitality, richness and abundance {shamen}. This abundance, this fatness, shines {shaman}. This ever green leaf, the one who trusts and abides in the Lord; shines! Remember Moses?! After Moses had been with the Lord 40 days and 40 nights, his face shone with the glory of the Lord (Exodus 34:29). It was a radiance that could easily be seen by others. A radiance due to being in the Lord’s presence (Exodus 34:34). The Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend (Exodus 33:11).

From the NetBible: http://net.bible.org/verse.php?book=Ex&chapter=33&verse=15, the word for face {paniym} in Exodus 34:29 and 33:11 is the same word used for the Lord’s manifest presence in Exodus 33:15. Moses was unwilling to go even to the promised land without the Lord’s manifest presence; for its the Lord’s presence that distinguishes His people. The root for paniym {panah) means ‘to turn’, because it is towards a person’s face that we turn in order to acknowledge their presence.

From my article ‘Presence’ http://www.justworship.com/praisepoints/presense.pdf we see that the Lord’s manifest presence is revealed intimately, personally, and corporately in the heart of believers through the ‘person’ of Jesus Christ. This tangible presence, through the person of Jesus Christ, sets the Lord’s people apart as distinct and shows His favor. Moses wanted a personal relationship, to see God face to face and to find favor/grace in His sight. He had a passion for the presence of the Lord.

We also saw how important worship is in experiencing the presence of the Lord. How blessed are the people who worship you, who know the joyful sound! O LORD, they walk in the light of Your presence (Psalm 89:15 NASB). Blessed are the people who know the passwords of praise, who shout on parade in the bright presence of GOD (Ps 89:15 MSG)!

For it’s at the sound of worship in spirit and in truth that the Lord blesses and keeps His people, that He turns His face and shines upon them, pouring out His grace on them giving them His peace and the light of His presence, His favor (Numbers 6:24-26). It’s at the sound of this worship that He turns His face towards His people. For these are the worshipers the Lord is seeking (John 4:23). The eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him (2 Chronicles 16:9).

As we abide and trust in the Lord, as we keep and treasure His words, as we worship and behold His face, we are transformed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:17-18). For God, who said, Let light shine out of darkness, made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)

As the Lord turns His face and shines on us, our faces behold Him and reflect His Glory. Our faces reflect the face of Christ, the face of the Son who is the radiance of God’s glory (Hebrews 1:3). Just as I realized that it was Christ’s face that was shining, I remembered the shining dew and that the manna, the bread of heaven, always came with the dew (Numbers11:9; Exodus 16:4). Jesus is the Living Bread, the Bread of Life that came down from heaven (John 6). Jesus, the face of Christ, can only be seen through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, the dew resting on the green leaves of the heart of the one who abides, shines revealing the face of Christ, the ‘Bread of the Presence’ to the world!

From the NetBible: http://net.bible.org/dictionary.php?word=shewbread — Shewbread – the ‘Bread of the Presence.’ Show bread literally “bread of the Presence”, “bread of the face” or “faces.” Shew-bread was unleavened bread placed upon a table which stood in the sanctuary together with the seven-branched candlestick and the altar of incense. Every Sabbath twelve newly baked loaves, representing the twelve tribes of Israel, were put on it in two rows, six in each, and sprinkled with incense, where they remained till the following Sabbath. Then they were replaced by twelve new ones, the incense was burned, and they were eaten by the priests in the holy place, out of which they might not be removed, The title “bread of the face” seems to indicate that bread through which God is seen, that is, with the participation of which the seeing of God is bound up, or through the participation of which man attains the sight of God whence it follows that we have not to think of bread merely as such as the means of nourishing the bodily life, but as spiritual food as a means of appropriating and retaining that life which consists In seeing the face of God.

It’s thru the ‘Bread of the Presence’ that the glory of God is seen in the face of Christ! This Presence, this ‘Bread of the Face(s)’ rests and shines upon the face of one who trusts and abides in the Lord through the dew of Holy Spirit. This dew shines brighter and brighter with the rising Son until the full light of day (Proverbs 4:18).

Come magnify the Lord, let us exalt His name together. Taste and see that the Lord is good! Taste the ‘Bread of the Presence’. Glory in His holy name; Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad. Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually (1 Chronicles 16:10-11). Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Abide with a steadfast heart. Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. Your face will shine revealing the glory of God in the face of Christ. Your praise will awaken the dawn.

Abide and shine!

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise. Awake, my glory! Awake, lute and harp! I will awaken the dawn.
I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to You among the nations.
(Psalm 57:7-9)

I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul will make its boast in the LORD; The humble will hear it and rejoice.
Magnify the LORD with me; let us exalt His name together.

I sought the LORD, and He answered me;
He delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to Him are radiant;
Their faces are never covered with shame.
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.

(Psalm 34:1-5, 8)